Airtel, Jio, Vodafone to battle it out for World Cup viewers

Mobile operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone India are trying to outdo each other to get a share of more than 100 million viewers expected to watch FIFA World Cup, the most-watched sporting event in the world, in the country.

Market leader Airtel’s subscribers can watch live broadcasts of the month-long tournament, being kicked off on Thursday, in various local languages besides Hindi and English, on Airtel TV.

The company, engaged in a tough competition with Jio over 4G expansion and content-based offers, said its subscribers can also see exclusive behind-the-scenes match snippets along with match previews/ reviews.

Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio, too, said its over 186 million subscribers will be able to watch world cup matches live on Jio TV at no additional subscription charges. To ensure that it attracts cricket viewers, the newest telco in the industry is also live streaming the India-Afghanistan cricket matches live on its app.

Not to be outdone, Vodafone India has announced contests based on the world cup on Vodafone app. Contestants can get an iPad Mini by winning a game or making a transaction, while the bumper prize winner will get a travel voucher worth Rs 1 lakh. With traffic at rock bottom levels, mobile operators hope to offer exclusive content to attract high-data users who are expected push up revenues, which have dipped by more than 20% over the last year or so.

Sports remains a popular way of attracting customers. Jio streamed the Winter Olympics live in India and the Nidahas Cricket Trophy in Sri Lanka. Airtel streamed the Commonwealth Games live on the Airtel TV app, and have tieups to stream English Premier League soccer matches, among others

A similar battle between the operators were seen earlier on in the year when they wooed customers with offers during the Indian Permier League cricket tournament.

Industry executives and analysts said more content offerings will be weaved in as bundled packs increase.

As per company officials, who asked not to be named, Jio is strengthening the content portfolio with exclusive deals with leading content providers and broadcasters.

(Source: Economic Times India)

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